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Menkaure’s Pyramid “Menkaure is Divine”

Giza - The Places

The Mortuary Complex for Pharaoh Menkaure, Giza Necropolis

The Facts and Figures

The smallest of the 3 Pyramids on the Giza Necropolis

Built: 4th Dynasty, Old Kingdom period and completed in 2510BC
Type: True Pyramid with a slope of 51 degrees
Height: 66.2m or 125 Royal Cubits originally
Base: 102.2m by 104.6m or 200 Royal Cubits
Volume: 235,183 Cubic Meters
Materials used: Limestone Blocks for its Core and Aswan Quarried Red Granite for its first 16 courses of Casing with Tura White Limestone for the remainder of its Casing Stones
Part of: The Memphis Necropolis, click here for further information
Where: Located in Giza, now part of South West Cairo
Who: Constructed for Pharaoh Menkaure, son of Pharaoh Khafre and Grandson of Pharaoh Khufu

As with the Complexes for his father Pharaoh Khafre and his grandfather Pharaoh Khufu, Pharaoh Menkaure Complex joined the River Nile at the harbour which docked next to the Valley Temple, led to the Causeway, into the Mortuary Temple and onwards inside the Main Pyramid.

The Valley Temple

Materials: Bedrock Stone and finished with rather crude Bricks this may be because Pharaoh Menkaure predeceased the completion of his Mortuary Complex and so his son, Pharaoh Shepseskaf, hastily finished the Temple off

Inside: Many Statues of Pharaoh Menkaure were located, some with him alone and some with him in a group as a triad of deities

Causeway

Materials: Limestone Blocks and Wooden Beams

Notes: Thought to have been completed by Pharaoh Shepseskaf and it cannot be certain whether it ever connected both Temples

The Mortuary Temple

Materials: Aswan Quarried Granite Floors and some Walls were clad with Aswan Quarried Pink Granite facing; the foundations and inner core were constructed from Limestone. Pharaoh Shepseskaf finished the Temple on his father’s behalf with rough bricks

Interior: Statues of Pharaoh Menkaure were located, some with him alone and some with him in a group of deities

Notes: Within the Temple, Pharaoh Shepseskaf has inscribed that he has, “made it as his monument for his father, the Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt”

The Main Pyramid

The entrance was on the North face of the Pyramid, it led into a Corridor which descends into a panelled Chamber which has Niches carved into its walls; following on down the Corridor, the Pyramid Builders added their security of 3 Granite Blocks; beyond them you eventually reach the Burial Chamber. The Chamber is on a North South axis, decorated in Pink Granite with a gabbled roof and held Pharaoh’s Basalt Sarcophagus

3 Queen’s Pyramids

Materials: Limestone and Granite

Additions: Each Pyramid had their own Temple and small Cult Chapel on site

Pyramid G3c:
The Left Small Pyramid in the photograph
Its casing was never completed, and neither was the Burial Chamber. It appears that no burial was ever made inside this Pyramid

Pyramid G3b:
The Middle Small Pyramid in the photograph
Only built to a 4 step Core level. The Burial Chamber housed another Pink Granite Sarcophagus with the bones of a young woman inside. Her identity remains a mystery, but it can be assumed that this was a Royal Lady of Pharaoh Menkaure’s Court

Pyramid G3a:
The Right Small Pyramid in the photograph
The largest of the 3 Pyramids, is the only True Pyramid and its casing is, at least partially, made of Granite. Its entrance was on its North Face and it had a Pink Granite Sarcophagus in the Burial Chamber. Potentially, this is the Tomb of Queen Khamerernebti II, but Egyptologists have nothing to conclude this hypothesis

Experimenting with Destruction

The large gash in the North Face of the Pyramid is due to the 8-month attempted destruction of the Pyramid by Saladin’s son, Al-Malek al-Aziz Othman Ben Yusuf, in the 1190s. The endeavour was abandoned as they could only remove a block or two per day.